This paper examines the effects of Scandinavian co-financing and co-distribution on the formation of cultural memory by focusing on a recent Finnish-Swedish documentary, Ingen riktig finne – Laulu koti-ikävästä by Mika Ronkainen (2012). Not assuming a simple cause-effect chain of financing and distribution on aesthetics and meaning-making, the aim is, rather, to discuss the possibilities and constraints of co-productions for rearticulating cultural memory and national narratives, thereby enabling new articulations of migrant belongings (Fortier 2000) and minoritarian identities. In this paper, Hamid Naficy’s (2001) notion of ‘accented cinema’ is suggested as a way of theorizing the cultural and political potential of co-productions.
In the case of Ingen riktig finne – Laulu koti-ikävästä, the notion of ‘accented cinema’ is discussed as redistribution of feelings: cultural memory is rearticulated by mobilizing and revisiting the ‘affective legacies’ (Koivunen 2012) of migrant belongings and the narrativizations in the two countries and languages of the mass migration of Finns to Sweden in the 1960s and 1970s. In this documentary, fleeing poverty and unemployment in Finland as well as memories of living in the Finnish immigrant community and being underclass in the eyes of the new homeland are thematized in a feel-good film, a musical documentary and a road movie.
In Swedish context, the documentary enables a revisiting – both for the mainstream public and for the Swedish Finnish minority – of the past negative stereotypes of Swedish Finns as disadvantaged citizens in need of social resources, that prevailed in press during the Great Migration. As for Finnish context, the film breaks up the stubborn silence and oblivion that has prevailed in the national public sphere concerning the mass migration. It also rearranges the affective dynamic that structures the existing narratives about Swedish Finns where guilt and shame are defining features. In revisiting affective legacies and redistributing feelings, the musical performances play a key role in creating a multi-language space for different migrant generations, emotional histories, temporalities and social positions.
As a stylized documentary and accented cinema in terms of generic hybridity, Finnish Blood, Swedish Heart exemplifies the potential and constraints of co-productions as accented cinema to create a third space that enables rearticulations of cultural memory beyond national narratives and emotional grammars.
Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference (SCMS), Montreal, March 25-29, 2015.